Look here John, sorry to tell you this, but they lied to you.

November 18, 2010

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“What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to lie and deceive…”

Just got back from the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Marketing Association http://www.DFWSEM.org meeting. You won’t believe it but the attendance was over 150 people tonight! The topic was the State of Search, featuring a gentleman from a Search Engine News Website and with two wonderful young ladies from Google and Bing. Very exciting stuff for search geeks like myself.

So… however that quote goes, has it never been more true  than in the advertising sales business.

You ever go out and tell a client what they are really getting from the service you provide? If you do it with an absolute clear conscience, you know, kinda like the feeling of helping someone down on his or her luck, wouldn’t you think you and the company you keep should be rewarded with this clients future business? Companies that can do this well have a great product or service to offer. Companies, like those that report phone book usage is down from 25% to now 11%, but then claim that they want to “opt themselves” out of paying a State mandated (so to speak) “tax” that requires them to produce a product that consumers don’t want or use, yet they then want to sue for the “freedom of speech” to saturate homes with unwanted industry waste… is that not pot meet kettle or what? The business practices of what was once an honest profession are disturbing. It is not all publishers. The problem is really all publishers combined. Take for instance my zip code, if you visit the Yellow Pages Opt Out site you will see that my home receives 4 different yellow pages company products, which equates to 6 books a year worth of collective waste. I wonder how much useful wood chips are being wasted? It is not like they are keeping legal citizens on payroll distributing the waste anymore? Have we officially handed phone book distribution responsibilities to illegal immigrants? I guess if the garbage man who doesn’t speak a lick of English can remove the phonebook trash for free, at no cost to the publishers, I am sure it won’t hurt for his Wife to keep busy littering our porches with them? Probably not the intent of the design behind the recycle symbol circle on your phonebook, but it sorts takes on a whole new meaning huh?

John Paulson is a smart man for booting SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein, and his two EVPs out of the company. Time to make room for DexOne management. DexOne folks didn’t subscribe to the Verizon/Idearc way of cheating. With the bankruptcy of Idearc, FairPoint Communications, and Hawaiian Telecom, Verizon should be held liable for unloading massive amounts of debt free and clear after two years outside of the nest, especially considering the knowledge of mobile smart phone advancements and patents. Considering the timing of the bankruptcy, one has to question the integrity of the investors and executives, whom did an excellent job of raising executive salaries while demanding subordinates take massive paycuts and benefit reductions. I guess we should ask Congress to do the same too? It is not like the 545 folks that run our federal government ever get fired for doing a crummy job?

What does this have to do with Google?

Product advancements in search come from ideas. Problem solvers combined with engineers and designers who create amazing solutions and verticals for just about any consumer need. The best that the Worlds first and once most respected “internet technology” companies, the yellow pages industry veterans, could create was an online version of the printed product. Nothing more, nothing less. That was because they, like most other intelligent businesses, understand how to carve a niche. Too bad ethics and technology passed them up. Companies like the one I used to work for are inundated with mid-level sales managers, high quotas, fat profit margins, nepotism, excessive executive compensation, and a lack of focus on change. Just because you are relevant today, doesn’t mean you will be relevant tomorrow.  The YP industry lacked the foresight to see the near future. Even paid search was a rush it to market solution with an inferior product like SMLocal that didn’t incorporate the tools from Google’s UI and AdWords Editor desktop applications. What we got was a cheap investment of the BidCenter tool from the purchase of Inceptor vs true software as a service (SAAS) solutions or platform planned and engineered application, such as those from companies like ReachLocal.com. To build a massive search marketing company you must find a way to embrace a holistic methodology to search and social, stay transparent with cpc/cpa and offer measurement tools and reporting such as Google Analytics.

The next step is to incorporate content strategy, and then after dotting i’s and crossing all the t’s you get to sales. Not sales and then a wonderful and almost preplanned game of hot potato by the outsourced and overworked/understaffed fulfillment department. Beuller? ANYONE want to take some accountability for the clients problems? Your CEO must be on the same page as your head engineer and his team of programmers. This is the side of corporate that deserves investment. Clearly not what Verizon chose to invest in with its Yellow Pages division Verizon Information Services.

Do you know why two terrible companies, or expired business models combined, just make one really bad company or idea?

John Paulson’s Hedge Fund was lied to by yellow pages executives. Now Mr. Paulson’s fund managers are making plans to turn yellow lemons into lemonade by combining the administrative and management expenses of SuperMedia and DexOne. I guess that is what most people hope, just because some monopolizing of the printed yellowbook business would be a good thing for porches everywhere. So the plan is to cut costs, merge resources and expenses, kill white pages, and then sell whatever is left back to investors or bondholders, but not at 40 bucks a share and the thirty some odd dollars per share they shorted the way down…. does this ring a bell folks? Gotta love crony hedge funds as much as crony capitalists right? I guess you deserved to be lied to… that is what you get for backroom deals to rob shareholders on bankruptcies of a dying business model before the companies had the opportunity for fresh and creative leadership to take a shot. Too bad when Verizon Yellow Pages and Idearc Media was spun off of big Verizon that big Verizon didn’t get to keep the crony leadership team from Kathy Heartless…. errr I mean Harless.

Maybe they need to just stop pretending they are so Super and actually do what is needed to become it… invest in something… anything. Just RIF the entire Verizon Management Team and start fresh… or do what Local.com did and buy a company like Octane360 for a basic SEO offering? Heck, you can’t do worse than BidCenter/SMLocal and Business.com. (lol)


Idearc Corporate Fraud Begins at Sales Culture

December 28, 2009

How quickly times do change.

Kinda crazy, a few years ago when people said the name “Ron Paul,” more times than not,  people probably thought of:

Also crazy is how quickly things can change. The growth of the Tea Party movement signals one of the greatest changes in my life. Not of the personal sort, but from a cultural perspective.  It appears to me, to some extent, that our opinions as consumers , businessmen, parents, teachers, consultants, employees, and citizens have changed towards corporate America, corporate greed. There is a growing movement towards ethical consumerism. Did your corporation donate money to a lobbyist? This might effect your earnings by patriotic American’s who believe in investing in moral and ethical corporations. Not just from the environmental or green sentiment, but also from that of a political sort. Business owners, like everyone else, are also consumers. They choose where they invest advertising dollars.

Who also recieved the email from Google for the $20 Million “Christmas Gift” to Charities?

Unions want to take corporate profits. Wealth redistribution if you asked me. Unions cater to workers, but who really profits in the unions? When a union is no longer non-profit they too become Crony Capitalists.

Aside from the message about “Card Check” at the end, I really believe this video communicates a growing sentiment in America toward Crony Capitalism.

I don’t believe Congress should pass the Employee Free Choice Act, maybe because I am not that big into unions, considering how bad they managed to screw the direction, profits, and innovations of many of America’s best corporations. Many American corporations are misguided my unions. It is often challenging for a business to sustain “LONGTERM” success with union involvement. Such is the case of GM being held back from innovation by its own employee labor union the UAW.  (My mother, TC Adams,  was a union steward in 1997  while working at the GTE Phone Mart in Garland Tx prior to joining GTE Yellow Pages as a sales consultant. ) GTE, then Verizon, then  Idearc, and now SuperMedia has a challenge working with the CWA Union. At Verizon/Idearc, reps in non-union states are compensated less for advertising sales than those in union organized territories. Cutting into corporate profits? Sure. Offering the company guidance from collecting information directly from clients and media consultants then sharing it  with the companies executives and so called product managers to guide the direction of the organization? Heck No!

(American Greed is a great show btw!)

I’ve always felt that I was paid too much  money just to sell Yellow Pages Advertising. Sell an ad. Move on to the next sell. Sell another. Do some paperwork. Move on the next yellow page ad sale. Man! When I was 20 years old I made over $100,000 selling Yellow Pages for Verizon! (And this was without selling “Fake Yellow Pages Ads to Fill a Phone Book.”) I think that was one of the years I earned one of my numerous Verizon Yellow Page Sales President’s Awards from Kathy Harless, the companies CEO. It was a great career. Up until I started becoming tenured in my job and craving to learn more and more about internet marketing.

Once I quickly recognized that the folks actually doing the work, managing the Google Adwords Campaigns and building the websites, got paid significantly less than those that made the big “SELLS,” it only took me a few years to really grasp what a lack of value Verizon Yellow Pages was really offering for online advertising. That’s when I began studying advanced Search Engine Optimization and Internet advertising methods and strategies.

The corporate sales culture had its flaws, but it was nothing like the direction that Idearc Media is headed, with leadership from Idearc CEO Scott Klein and his circle of crony executives.  As if corporate fraud of the personal sort from executives was not bad enough, they also don’t take accountability for the direction of the company. Ask anyone who heard quarterly earnings calls over the past few years.

If folks knew better they would be looking into Kathy Harless and her dream team of women who apparently thought it was wise to spin the company off with such a debt burden. Idearc paid the price to become a self sustaining organization. Verizon sapped the company dry of cash. Huge profits from Verizon Yellow Pages advertising sales went to fund FIOS and Verizon Wireless ventures. You would want to look into the corporate responsibility as well of Ivan Seidenburg and Verizon directors for FairPoint Communications, Hawaiian Telecom, and Idearc Media’s bankruptcies.

“Audit the Fed!”

If you haven’t been following Ron Paul’s latest movement.

After spending 9 years and 3 months in the Corporate jungle of Yellow Pages Sales from the age of 19 to 28, I want to scream out at the top of my lungs

“Audit Idearc!”

“Audit SuperMedia!”

Let’s look at just one thing that needs auditing in Idearc’s Corporate Sales Culture:

How much do Hispanic Reps in Texas earn vs non hispanic reps.Why do Hispanic Reps get paid higher commissions? Why did Hispanic Reps have lower quotas and earn more money since Verizon/Idearc began publishing Spanish Yellow Pages?

“Sell 4 different geography Solutions/SuperDirect mail drops of Spring vs selling 4 seasonal SuperDirect Mail drops of a single geography deck to keep from being charged back and losing commissions, when the clients doesn’t pay. Then disconnect the pre-paid cell phone that you are having someone answer. “

If this is the kind of advice,  Idearc local sales managers and sales reps believe will contribute to the success of the organization, may Idearc not go bankrupt but cease to exist. Idearc rewards sales. Even sales to illegal immigrants who want to start a business and have zero credit or identification. All you need is an address, business name, and a cell phone.

Quiere empezar un negocio?

Idearc does not reward taking care of the client.They do not reward media consultants for expertise beyond getting a signature on a contract to obligate a client for 12 months worth of billing, regardless of Idearc’s contribution to the success and outcome of the client. Idearc’s sales culture, unlike America’s Small Business Advertising Agencies such as this one,  do not reward results. Idearc does not reward sales based on retention or even receivables. The problem with corporate advertising sales is it is just too much about sales and not enough about advertising.

Audit Idearc’s local postcard sales have been made by hispanic reps in El Paso, Texas, and other hispanic markets. How many of the numbers in the advertisements are disconnected or ring to some newly formed paving, carpentry, locksmith, or painting company?

The Spanish phone books are a JOKE. The rates are a joke. The distribution is a joke. The profit margin is a joke. The entire thing stinks.

I don’t want a Spanish phone book at my house. (I need to remind myself to give Tim O’hare, the Mayor of Farmer’s Branch a call about Spanish phone book littering and see if the city councel can put something together to end this sort of environmental waste — I also recall Idearc changing the book’s name during O’Hare’s nationally recognized push to end the Farmers Branch sanctuary city policies towards illegal immigration.) If saturation distribution wasn’t a big enough issue, we get a few english and now spanish books! Apparently Idearc has had run overs, because they sent me two December publications of the Idearc Spanish Yellow Pages.

Idearc’s corporate fraud began when Scott Klein, the companies newly found CEO, incentivized by a $3.2 million home in Highland Park began lying to investors and employees about the state of Idearc’s business and the decline of yellow pages usage and receivables.  I still think Idearc / Super Media’s next CEO or group of executives needs to have experience with “carrying the bag” before they being hired.  I am anxious to see if he actually manages to reform the organization beyond his intense loquacious lip service work.

Most Yellow Pages advertising sales reps are greedy and unrealistic. I would say many of them are dumb, but I might lose a few friends. Seriously, how much is there to understand about an ad in a phone book. They might want to consider automating the process of purchasing yellow pages ads and transition the companies sales focus to more of a marketing/branding and promotion focused business model.

Well, time to get back to work. It takes a serious amount of energy and effort to start a business. Not as easy as buying an ad in the phone book.

I asked my future “local internet advertising boutique business partner” and chief web developer Jeff Swope what he felt makes he and I different from Idearc. (He has had the pleasure of getting an ear full of my soap box grandstanding over the years.)

His response:

We sell advertising, but advertising sales is not what we do. We are a small web Dallas area marketing boutique. We care about the success of our clients. We call our clients weekly and daily with innovative ideas. We believe that local advertising is as much about brand appearance as it is reputation and ethics. We are accountable. We are responsive.

I want to add:  We teach. My passion is to teach others what I know. I enjoy teaching my clients as well as learning from them.

What makes you the best in town is not just being the best but sharing what you know and being willing to spend the time effort and energy to learn more. I don’t have to the the authority for search engine optimization for all American Small Businesses. I just the SEO authority for my clients in Dallas-Fort Worth. My client who is a transmission shop doesn’t need to become the authority on Google for transmission repair in the United States, but just Garland, Plano, Lewisville and Dallas Tx.

Others in this organization might add that we don’t chase clients with contracts or big attorneys. When you have an issue, it is not softened by 4 mid-level managers before it gets to the desk of the CEO. In most cases you deal directly with the CEO. We have a team of pay-per-click campaign managers who don’t own the campaign after it is built. We build it for the client. We have content writers and web developers who utilize the latest innovations in Web 2.0 and content distribution. We don’t own the content or the site we build for the client. They do. If they cease doing business with our firm for any reason we can recommend another agency through the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketers Association. Benefit to the client is that most experienced developers can work with our existing efforts due to the capabilities of an open-source content management system like Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal.


Obamacare Hazardous to America’s Health — David Limbaugh —

December 22, 2009

Time for real change in Washington and in corporate offices everywhere!

Obamacare Hazardous to America’s Health — David Limbaugh —

Crony Politicians needing to be paid off for votes. Crony Executives looking to use power and influence to get a leg up.

https://i0.wp.com/www.john-goodman-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/Comments%20and%20Images/Chart_for_FYI_Expenditures_for_Health_Programs_Smaller.jpgAren’t you folks getting tired of all this? Wall Street and Capital Hill need to realize that Main Street Americans are tired of the bullshit!

The commonalities between Yellow Pages – A Prescription for the Future and the solutions to our Health care problem are very intriguing.

Senators on Capital Hill will do whatever it takes to shove health care “reform” (real health care reform fixes the insurance system and price of health care, such as fee for service costs etc, as well as builds health care awareness focus) which to me is another pay off. Instead of the banks, it is the insurance companies and doctors associations.

“Reforming” healthcare is one thing… paying off fellow Democrats simply to get the necessary votes to allow for debate is scandalous:

Staffers on Capitol Hill were calling it the Louisiana Purchase.

On the eve of Saturday’s showdown in the Senate over health-care reform, Democratic leaders still hadn’t secured the support of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of the 60 votes needed to keep the legislation alive. The wavering lawmaker was offered a sweetener: at least $100 million in extra federal money for her home state.

And so it came to pass that Landrieu walked onto the Senate floor midafternoon Saturday to announce her aye vote — and to trumpet the financial “fix” she had arranged for Louisiana. “I am not going to be defensive,” she declared. “And it’s not a $100 million fix. It’s a $300 million fix.”

Even when she finally announced her support, at 2:30 in the afternoon, Lincoln made clear that she still planned to hold out for many more concessions in the debate that will consume the next month. “My decision to vote on the motion to proceed is not my last, nor only, chance to have an impact on health-care reform,” she announced.

“My vote today,” she said in a soft Southern accent that masked the hard politics at play, “should in no way be construed by the supporters of this current framework as an indication of how I might vote as this debate comes to an end.” Among the concessions she’ll seek: more tax credits for small business and a removal of the version of the “public option” now in the bill.

Democrats have shown they don’t care what they do to this country fiscally.  The $787 billion “stimulus” ($1.24 trillion with interest figured in) not to mention the nearly $1 trillion cost to “reform” and all of the additional costs that will hit individuals and businesses will result in less money in the pockets of taxpayers, less hiring by employees, and lower wages as companies seek to try and maintain some profits in our new Democratically managed economy.

Witness the recent statement by Emerson Electronics’ CEO regarding how Obama is treating American businesses:

One of the country’s most important industrial companies says the United States is not a good place to manufacture and it will continue moving its assets offshore.

The federal government is “doing everything in [its] manpower [and] capability to destroy U.S. manufacturing,” says David Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson Electric Co., in a presentation at the Baird 2009 Industrial Conference in Chicago Ill., on Nov. 11. In comments reported by Bloomberg, Farr added that companies will continue adding jobs in China and India because they are “places where people want the products and where the governments welcome you to actually do something. I am not going to hire anybody in the United States. I’m moving. They are doing everything possible to destroy jobs.”

Expect this trend to continue as Democrats push for a more government managed economy.  The result is going to be rationed care, higher taxes, lower quality healthcare, higher unemployment, and more payoffs as we have already seen simply to buy votes.

The generational theft that the Democrats are perpetrating is criminal.

Meanwhile, Yellow Pages publishers want to shove phone books on you whether you want them or not. Then they hold the local government accountable for paying to remove the waste. I think they need to get your permission to send you a book. No OPT OUT… now that you are not regulated to send us one (the phone companies have said they don’t feel getting a book is now necessary) distribution needs to become an OPT IN based system.

The first yellow pages to announce that they are going green and creating a subscription based model will earn the respect of business owners everywhere and show that they want real change.

Prescription for the future

Clearly the advertising spend for SMBs is changing. This August, for the first time, the number of SMBs using the Internet to advertise (77%) was higher than the number of SMBs using traditional advertising (69%). However, the full weight and enormity of this has not yet been felt, as a disproportionate number of dollars were still attributed to traditional advertising. That, however, is about to change. In fact, Internet advertising, currently the third largest spend, is expected to surpass the newspaper spend before 2013 – newspapers being the biggest advertising spend overall today. Unless newspapers react with products other than print, we think this day will come as early as 2011 or 2012.

Much of this shift is happening as SMBs shift their advertising spend from traditional media  to their own online presences, pure-play verticals and Google Adwords. The YP industry is in a truly unique position to take advantage of this opportunity and potentially even grow their share of SMB advertising spend.

A successful future for YP will include evolutionary changes such as transitioning online to IYP, embracing transparency, pay-for-performance, user-generated content, publishing cycle changes, pricing model changes, and sales process changes. However, revolutionary change will need to be embraced to truly seize the opportunity. The YP industry will need to think back to their origins and rediscover the essence of what made them the most valuable source of advertising to their customers. Before the Internet the Yellow pages were:

  1. The most trusted and complete source of business information.
  2. A business model that was incontrovertibly the best ROI available.
  3. The most convenient, fastest way to engage local businesses.

Here is our prescription for how Yellow Pages can attain the above:

  1. Become the most trusted source by providing Social Context to consumers visiting the directory.
  2. Become the most complete and richest source of business listings by allowing all businesses to provide complete and rich data and participate in the online directory for free.
  3. Provide an incontrovertible ROI by embracing a new advertising model in which advertisers set their own advertising fee and only pay based on a successful transaction, and use this model to leverage the advertisers’ spend on their existing web presence.
  4. Become the most convenient, fastest way to engage local businesses by providing consumers with an interactive system to communicate with advertisers on a one-to-many basis.

We would be remiss if we did not tell you that we have developed the set of tools that can help YP companies do exactly what we’ve described.

Using our platform, the Yellow Pages can once again attain this position of advertising dominance. Yellow Page companies have both the sales force and the means to take advantage of the shift of advertising dollars from traditional print to online models.

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Idearc Media phone number list source and deregulation cause FairPoint phone book to have missing numbers and errors

November 12, 2009

UnionLeader.com – New Hampshire news, business and sports – More FairPoint woes: Phone book lost numbers – Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

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If you can’t seem to get the phone book to be any more accurate than the internet…. why bother printing it? Seems as though the companies need to get it right if they are going to attempt to state that they are the “best yellow pages” out there. If you saturate my house with phone books… atleast make sure the information is accurate. It isn’t enough that the yellow pages industry saturate our Dallas area homes, they also don’t seem to be that interested in making sure the information is accurate! Take some accountability and fix the problem… might go along way to creating the subscription based business model consumers deserve!

Meanwhile folks in New Hampshire are going to really not suffer as much as regulators might think. Take a look at the recent comments from local consumers regarding FairPoint’s phone book mistakes and Idearc’s errors when the the local phone book was published.  See, it wasn’t a big deal after all. AT&T also has announced recently that it intends to stop printing as many White Pages directories.


So you prefer Google over getting ink on your fingers with the Yellow Pages…. it’s time to “OPT OUT” of Yellow Pages industry wasteful saturation distribution methods.

October 26, 2009

Saturation Distribution…………. it’s just WRONG!

Photo by Lulu Vision via Flickr
photo by Lulu Vision


It appears that the Public Relations folks at the major yellow pages directory companies are pushing folks on Twitter to use www.yellowpagesoptout.com to stop receiving copies of the printed yellow pages. Well…. TODAY is the day. I am going to call and opt out of getting the books since I no longer need to participate in “distribution surveys” for work. (I no longer work for Idearc Media / Verizon Yellow Pages & Superpages.com). Let’s see if I get anymore books.

Personally I believe that getting a phone book is a necessity for many people. I just believe it needs to be “opted in” instead of “opted out”. Although it appears the industry can afford to lobby to prevent anti solicitation and spam bills, it is apparent that consumers do not have a strong voice in the matter.

Many 3rd party websites exist where consumers are able to get involved in selecting what yellow pages media they want to receive or be “disturbed” by. Sites such as:

http://www.PaperlessPetition.org says:

New research by The Kelsey Group indicates that consumer local media preferences are in transition, influenced by demographic factors, including age, income and education. The younger and more educated and affluent consumers are, the more they tend to utilize online resources at the expense of traditional media.

For example, the survey revealed that just 44% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, and only 28% of teens said they would turn to print Yellow Pages first when looking for local listings. On the other hand, 47% of these respondents said their first choice would be search engines.

“There’s a very clear age factor,” said Kelsey Group analyst Neal Polachek. He added that as consumers who are most accustomed to using the Web begin to enter their 30s, when they have more disposable income and are making bigger purchases, so too will businesses in their local advertising. “All of a sudden, you’re looking for schools, you own a house, you’re looking for mortgages — big purchase decisions. Those people will never have had the built-in habit of picking up the print Yellow Pages.”[5]

This research illustrates the decreasing demand for printed directories and the increasing usage of search engines for local information. We should all be following the youth’s lead, not only because their methods are faster and more efficient, but to also help preserve our planet’s limited resources.

Help Stop the Waste!

WhitePages.com sponsored site www.banthephonebook.org says:

Did you know that up to 5 million trees are cut down each year to create the white pages phone book and that taxpayers are spending $17 million each year to have these books recycled? Even more surprising is that almost 75% of consumers are completely unaware of the environmental and financial impact in printing, delivering and recycling these books. Given that you likely use online directories, social networks and mobile phone applications to find the contact information you need, it simply does not make sense to have the white pages phone books forcefully delivered to us every year.

Of course the industry asks you to go to a site it created www.yellowpagesoptout.com to opt out of directory distribution. Many have said that the site does not work as it simply asks you to spend hours on the phone attempting to tell the publisher’s you do not want a book. It has also been found that DEX does a pretty good job of following consumer wishes and leaves a nice door hanger asking you to request a phone book if you opt out (kudos to Dex for doing what people ask).

With YellowPagesOptOut the industry is apparently asking consumers to make a choice of which phone book they do want to receive if any. Maybe the PR folks at Idearc need to state, “Opt Out of Phone Books you don’t want, keep the one with the SuperGuarantee“.

Yellow Pages Industry says Consumers have a Choice....

In my opinion saturation distribution methods are wrong. You see, before the existence of the internet folks needed phone books. It was almost a necessity. How do consumers stop getting copies of phone books? It is not with opting out or opting in… it is by not using the phone book, disposing of it, voice opinions about it, telling businesses that advertise in it you prefer they didn’t, and rewarding publishers who do as you ask. I believe that consumers in many areas of the United States still need phone books. Most of rural America needs the phone book. Unfortunately publishers do not care about providing books based on need. Around 2006 when Verizon Yellow Pages became Idearc Media the company ceased distribution of many rural area books in the state of Texas. Why? It was not as profitable to publish these books since ad costs for smaller markets was significantly less than larger ones and a lack of sales made it a challenge to achieve profitable margins. Smaller publishers seem to make profits and produce a better product in these areas (San Angelo Tx and Bryan-College Station consumers prefer the Area Wide Directory over the Verizon Yellow Pages). Maybe it is the one size fits all approach or the “unachievable” margins the big telco publishers are attempting to receive?

Regardless of how print publishers react to a change in consumer behavior (this change has been taking place since the birth of the internet…. it is not like they have not had enough warning to react) going forward, it is up to consumer’s and advertisers to stop receiving phone books. Publisher’s will continue to lobby our elected officials and will also continue with the “saturation distribution” method. I used to think this issue would fix itself in a “supply and demand” fashion, but it is apparent that supply/demand does not always work, especially when media ad costs may justify cost of distribution. The consumers that do not want the product are forced to get it because some consumers do use the product and advertisers profit from this.

I don’t think I am the only one that believes a yellow page “distribution by subscription” method would be a wise strategy. If you want to increase value, find out who really does use your product. In the hands of the right target market the yellow pages is a very powerful product. I have always told my clients that if you want to be the best website on the internet, become an authority. The best websites are subscribed to. The best magazines are subscribed to. The best TV shows are TIVO’d or subscribed to. The best phone books will also be requested and subscribed to. I would love to be an advertiser in a phone book were the consumer actually requested the product.

BTW, how much is a phone book worth to a recycling company? If I recall the amount of glue in the spine makes it a challenge to recycle.

Additional Yellow Pages Industry Facts

* North American Yellow Pages Print Distribution: 540 million directories
* Global Industry Revenue: $26 billion
* U.S. Industry Revenue: $14 billion
* Revenue from printed directories: 97%
* Revenue from online directories: 3%

There are over 7,000 different titles of Yellow Pages, including competing industry-specific, ethnic-targeted, and “underlay” or neighborhood-specific titles. There are no strict rules, other than market demand, limiting the number of Yellow Pages titles to be printed in a single market. For example, this year in Southern California, it is possible that a person could have over 10 Yellow Pages directories dropped on their doorstep from 10 different publishers. It is also noteworthy that with a distribution of 540 million, there are more directories dropped than the entire population of North America. This industry practice is called “saturation distribution.”

What is “Saturation Distribution”?

In the past, anyone with a landline automatically received a printed copy of the Yellow Pages. But today, with the landline exodus to mobile phones, and considering drops at large apartment buildings or corporate campuses, directory publishers use “Saturation Distribution” to ensure that enough printed copies are available.[1] This means that an over-estimated number of copies are dropped to ensure that everyone gets a copy. Even more waste.
The Biggest Players in the Yellow Pages Game:[2]

RANK MEDIA COMPANY NET DIRECTORY REVENUE
1 SBC Communications $3.8 Billion
2 Verizon Communications $3.6 Billion
3 BellSouth Corp. $2.0 Billion
4 Dex Media $1.7 Billion
5 Yellow Book USA (Yell Group) $1.1 Billion

If you want to share your thoughts directly with the Yellow Pages Association:
Yellow Pages Association (YPA)

Global Headquarters
Two Connell Drive, First Floor
Berkeley Heights, N.J. 07922-2747
(908) 286-2380
(908) 286-0620 (Fax)

Mr. Negley (Neg) Norton
President, Yellow Pages Association (YPA)
908 286-2385
Neg.Norton@ypassociation.org